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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

PAS Sec-Gen: Pakatan shall stand, BN may fall

To this effect we are already seeing Anwar Ibrahim and Kapitan Lim Guan Eng grooming and selecting only the “neutral” and “multi-racial”. Indians as t

So Blatant and clear the thinking within the leading political party in the country –UMNO See this quote from one Syed Ali Alhabshee , Setiausaha BN Wilayah Persekutuan

‘ Jangan beri ikut kuota. Sekarang tidak boleh pakai kuota. Kalau kita rasa calon Cina ini kuat di kawasan Melayu dan orang Melayu suka terima dia, beri pada dia. Kalau orang Melayu kuat di Kawasan Melayu, bagi pada Melayu. Tidak bermakna kita kena korbankan untuk calon bangsa lain (semata-mata) kerana ini kuota, sebab yang lebih penting ialah sama ada pemimpin mewakili parti itu disenangi rakyat.”.

Summary - future of seat allocation is race based.

B.N’s future seat allocation is likely to be race based ie the candidate is to be of the same race as the majority of the electrate in a particular Parliamentary or State constituency (BH 28/1/2010 at page 18). Umno sets the mould and PKR, DAP and PAS are also likely to follow suit. What does that mean for Indians.

In all the 222 Parliamentary seats and 500 over State seats, there is not a single seat with an Indian majority. But the Indians in 62 Parliamentary seats form 10% to 30% of the voters and thus deemed to be the “Kingmakers” in Malaysia. But after becoming king, both UMNO/BN and PKR, DAP and PAS/P.R bolt with the votes, leaving the Indians to beg for land for their schools, to be shot at and killed for the slightest of reasons, being left out from the mainstream of national development and everything else we try to convey through these columns.

Given this, HRP’s Indian Political Empowerment Strategy of creating 15 Parliamentary and 38 Indian majority seats is the only and sure way forward to save the extremely vulnerable ethnic minority Indians in Malaysia.

HRP leads the way for the Indians. If you do not get it now, you will surely get it soon.

P. Uthayakumar

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RM 300 Million to open restaurants overseas. Indians denied.

How ironical all this is. The priorities are all very clear. The poor and marginalized Indians can just go to hell. They do not count, no matter how much noise they make. After all in Najib’s 1Malaysia just create more Indian parties out of some greedy and self seeking Indians, give them peanuts. That will take care of the Indian issue. Then take the resources of the country, give it to your cronies, your friends, your relatives and call it development of the Malaysian cuisines and restaurants overseas, speed up the process of giving out this money, that is the priority of the UMNO government. Ask Mahathir, ask his protégé Muhiyuddin, they will tell you all about the Malaysia they want to create. Just read the report and understand UMNO priorities for yourself.

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Indians excluded Giatmara: Shukri (28) Form 3 owns Fotography shop and building.


See the attached report in Utusan of the 31st of January - Shukri (28) whose educational background was only up to Form 3 now owns a Photography business and the building in which he operates his business. We say congratulations to him.

But our point is quite another. This kind of a scheme where Mara provides loans of up to RM 276,000.00 and Giatmara provides the training are completely out of bounds for the Indian poor. We have never heard or read of even one Indian being given the training, expertise and loans to open up a photo studio. There may be the odd Indian may be 0.1% but these must have been the lucky ones who had made it on their own despite the odds..

But UMNOs’ Prime Minister Najib Razak says this is One Malay-sia.

P. Uthayakumar

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UMNO excludes 100% of Indians from aeronautical & other courses at ITM.

Nita Ismail was given the opportunity to have a career in aeronautical engineering at UiTM, Shah Alam (UM (M) 23/2/2010 at page 2) But Navita Subramaniam is wholly excluded from this UITM however bright or deserving she is. Indians students are excluded completely from the 200,000 places in University UiTM which only admits Malay Muslim students (UM 1/1/09) UMNO however admits 10% of UiTM’s annual intake to foreign students from Muslim countries. Ironical isn’t it?

We are yet to hear of a single Indian lady with a diploma or degree in aeronautical engineering . Even if such an individual exists, in all likehood she would have emptied her parents savings to achieve it and never from the RM 2.8 Billion allocation in the 2010 national budget for education loans and scholarships.

P. Uthayakumar

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Senior Indian police officer denied promotion for eight years and almost quit.

Even in this real life story –a story whose purpose is to motivate others like the Police Officer Sasikala Subramaniam, it inadvertently comes out that she once considered quitting because she was not offered any promotions for eight years. Can you imagine why? Not very hard is it?

However every now and then you get, by unwitting admission, real life accounts in the media of how it works in real life - discrimination in almost all walks of life in our 1Malaysia .

As it stands there are only about 1% ethnic minority Malaysian Indians in the civil service down from about 50% in 1969 according to page 78 of Dr. Mahathir’s book, The Malay Dilemma.

This Indian police officer’s case of non promotion is just the tip of the iceberg of the non promotion of Indians in the Malay-sian civil service based on the complaints we have received. It is a fact that this level of racism, religious extremism and supremacy does not exist in any other part of the world expect in Malaysia.

Is this a basis for a truly progressive Malaysia.

P. Uthayakumar

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MIC should be ashamed of what it has not done for the Indians in the country.


What a bloody shame. The MIC Deputy Minister proudly declares that the Tamil schools have come a long way. There is now a toilet and one classroom for each standard from only two toilets for the whole school. .

Article 8 of the Federal Constitution provides for Equality before the law.

Article 12 of the same provides for in effect no discrimination in Education. Providing for free primary education is the law, norm and practice in any part of the World . Primary education is foundational and great care must be taken to ensure quality for primary education. But for these deceiving MIC mandores a toilet and one classroom for each standard is an accomplishment and this after 50 years. These mandores continue to keep the poor Indian hand outstretched so they can continue to make a picture of generosity in the newspapers . We do not need such generosity, it is false generosity. True generosity is when we work to never have that hand outstretched any more. But this is not in the paradigm of the parasites in our society.

MIC mandores please stop this bloody nonsense.

The theme in Indian Primary education system is one of always trying just to get the basics in place – proper classrooms, proper facilities for the school, own land for the school, playgrounds for the school, adequate and well trained teaching staff for the schools – this is where the Tamil primary schools are at today. Under UMNOs’ MIC mandores and mandorism one classroom for each Tamil schools and a toilet for each room is a big deal after 50 years of opportunity (NST 21/2/10 at page 24).

Almost all Malay and Chinese schools have multi storey concrete school buildings full financial aid and fully equipped for the best studying and learning environment. The focus in the Chinese and Malay Primary education system is on producing excellence or world class and competitive junior citizens. Malay and Chinese schools are targeting 100% graduate teachers.

For Tamil schools which cater to the mostly poor and working class, alumni and well wishers (MO 17/2/2010 at page 9) have to chip in to even buy the elementary and basic necessities of tables and chairs, computers, library books, note books, school bags, uniforms etc for the 110,000 Indian children in the 523 Tamil schools nationwide. There are even 600 untrained teachers in Tamil schools.

MIC should be ashamed of what it has not done for the Indians in the country. It should not be putting out nonsense like this in the media – it is utterly shameful.

P. Uthayakumar

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MCA backs BN expansion while MIC dithers

Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek is in favour of direct membership into BN. - Picture by Jack Ooi

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 24 — MCA deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said today he backed the idea of direct membership into Barisan Nasional (BN) but the MIC continues to stop short of fully endorsing the plan which could bring an end to the coalition’s requirement for consensus.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced last week that BN would hold a convention by the end of the year to amend its constitution and allow direct membership of NGOs, individuals and other political parties.

The amendments will see a review of the requirement for consensus among its component parties to accept new members. The requirement, put up when BN succeeded the Alliance in 1974, worked in the early years but is now seen as a hindrance to widen its coalition and membership leading to unprecedented losses in Election 2008. Dr Chua told The Malaysian Insider today that MCA’s presidential council meeting this Friday will discuss the proposal, which he said he was personally in full support of.

“Personally, I’m in favour of it. Why should it (membership) be exclusive? When we want to admit members it could also be NGOs. There’s no harm in wanting to include groups that support BN,” said the MCA deputy leader.

He pointed out that any proposal to admit new members into BN should be approved by a majority of existing component parties.

“I do not agree that if you want to admit a member, a decision must be unanimous. The decision should be based on a majority instead.”

Dr. Chua’s remarks are likely to add pressure on MIC who have always used the consensus requirement to deny entry into BN to other Indian-based parties.

MIC president Datuk Seri S Samy Vellu was forced to issue a denial this week that his party was opposed to the direct membership proposal.

Samy Vellu said the party would assist and support Najib in strengthening the coalition.

He added that the MIC would discuss the proposal “behind closed doors” and would participate actively in the discussion “when the time comes”. “The MIC’s official stand with regards to the direct membership proposal is that we did not reject it at any point of time. I want this to be clearly understood by all quarters,” he added.

Other MIC leaders also appear to be caught in a bind over the proposal. While the party does not want to be seen as publicly opposing Najib’s proposal, it does not want to lose its monopoly as the only Indian representative in BN.

“We are comfortable with the current system of affliation, naturally we do not want to see the boat rocked,” said national Putera MIC coordinator P. Kamalanathan to the Malaysian Insider.

Kamalanathan said, however, that while MIC was comfortable with the current system, it does not mean that the party did not welcome Najib’s initiatives for change.

“We are not outright objecting to the proposal. It is unfair to make any decision or statement before studying the Prime Minister’s proposal properly. That is something that we will do.

“We are not against BN allowing direct membership. Whatever the Prime Minister decides, it will be for the betterment of the government,” the MIC man said.

Government scraps tiered fuel subsidies for simpler ways

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 24 — The government is looking at simpler ways to subsidise fuel for consumers after quietly scrapping the proposed tiered fuel subsidies scheduled for May 1 due to its complexity.

Industry sources said Putrajaya made the decision “recently” after complaints that the new subsidy system which uses MyKad for petrol purchase could be a hassle for consumers and petrol dealers apart from causing congestion at fuel stations.

“Oil industry executives have been asked to stop implementing the tiered subsidy system as the government has stopped it,” an industry source told The Malaysian Insider.

A consultant working on the programme confirmed the move, saying “the decision was made fairly recently.”

“It was just too complex and unwieldy,” he admitted to The Malaysian Insider, referring to the tiered subsidy system.

Under the programme that was being handled by Malayan Banking Berhad, motorists had to register using their Mykad to be eligible for some subsidy for one vehicle from May 1.

However, petrol dealers complained of additional costs despite making only 12.19 sen per litre for petrol and seven sen per litre for diesel. RON95 petrol is currently sold at RM1.80 a litre, RON97 and diesel at RM2.05 and RM1.70 a litre respectively. Shell is the only retailer selling the premium RON 97 Shell V Racing at an unsubsidised price of RM2.38 a litre.

The government has never revealed the tiered fuel subsidy system but went only as far to say that foreigners would not be eligible for subsidised prices. Fuel prices in Malaysia are cheaper than neighbours Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand.

Foreign motorists are only allowed to buy fuel up to 20 litres within 50km of the borders except for the unsubsidised premium Shell V Racing petrol.

“Now the authorities will find another way to implement subsidies without burdening the public and the petrol dealers,” the industry source added.

There is speculation that the government will raise retail prices by 10 sen in the short-term while mulling proposals for a better subsidy system. Global oil prices have steadily risen and are now at US$79 (RM269) a barrel.

In 2007, the authorities raised retail prices until they peaked at RM2.70 a litre leading to widespread protests and contributed to the ruling Barisan Nasional’s historic losses in Election 2008. It is learnt that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is keen to avoid protests that helped drive predecessor Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi out of office.

This is not the first time that the Najib Administration has pulled back an unpopular move before it is implemented. Last December He retracted an unpopular 5 per cent Real Property Gains Tax (RPGT) Budget 2010 proposal for properties sold after five years.

Businessmen complained the move was unfair as it the RPGT was meant to cool down speculation in the property market, not tax those who are genuinely selling after holding their properties for a reasonable amount of time.

For the petrol subsidies, Petrol Dealers Association of Malaysia (PDAM) president Datuk Hashim Othman anticipated a longer time to process transactions as biometrics have to verify the vehicle owner’s identity through thumbprint scanning and this could lead to possible congestion at the petrol stations.

“Experts in the field may say it is applicable but people on the ground are worried that the thumbprint scan, which is similar to the practice in the airport, may delay transactions and create congestion at petrol stations,” The Star quoted him as saying this week.

Hashim had said the government was still negotiating the quota of fuel subsidy that each car owner would be entitled to.

“The idea to give fuel subsidy to deserving people is good but we are worried that the system may be complicated and cannot address arising problems.”

Deputy Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Tan Lian Hoe, when met at the Perak Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Chinese New Year open house on Monday, said her ministry was still gathering feedback on the matter from the people.

Not time yet for a Malay counter movement

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 24 – A Malay “counter movement” is in the works to challenge the rise of right-wing Malay groups like Perkasa which seem to be hogging the headlines in the wake of the “Allah” controversy.

While Perkasa laments the erosion of Malay rights, this counter movement prefers to look forward, to cultivate Malays who succeed on their own merits and who reject the notion of racial superiority or “Ketuanan Melayu.”

Ibrahim Suffian, who is the director of the independent research firm Merdeka Center, believes that while the idea of a Malay-counter movement to represent the forward-thinking Malay is a “laudable suggestion”, there are many things which need to be considered as well.

“I think it’s good that an idea like this is coming out. Malaysians need to work on commonality rather than being different. However, there are a couple of things that they need to be aware of,” said Ibrahim when contacted by The Malaysian Insider.

This Malay counter movement is spearheaded by Suflan Shamsuddin who has since started a Facebook page to gather feedback on an “independent, non-partisan” Malay movement, one which is built on Islamic and universally-held values, virtues and ideals.

However, according to Ibrahim, the main obstacle to Suflan’s idea is the economic disparity between urban, educated Malays and rural Malays who are poorer and less privileged.

“Suflan’s idea that Malays should be less insecure about their rights and positions is going to be contested. A large number of Malays come from lower-income groups and they feel that they do not benefit from economic decisions made by the government.

“As such, while the middle-class Malay may claim that they are secure about their rights, poorer Malays may not necessarily feel the same way.

“Having said that, the suggestion of this idea shows that a time for it is very near. It is a good thing it is coming out now,” said Ibrahim.

He stressed that the time for a counter movement will come soon, but as of right now, the ideas need to “argued” and “redefined.”

“It boils down to economics and governance, how better governance can improve the Malays. Also, governance needs to be improved so that it can benefit not only Malays, but effectively non-Malays as well. The country’s national discourse cannot be just about Malays.”

Ibrahim noted that Malaysia is on its way there with, as an example, efforts by the government to roll back subsidies.

If people have to pay more taxes they would want a better more affirmative representation, he said.

Others welcome the room for a healthy debate on the matter but maintain that the discourse has to remain on an “intellectual” level.

“I am not surprised by Perkasa and also sentiments by Suflan Shamsuddin as they are a reflection of the change in Malay society. I think the room for different points of view is something good and healthy, as long as the discourse remains at this level,” said Dr Chandra Muzaffar via a telephone interview.

Chandra, who is the president of JUST (International Movement for a Just World) and head of Yayasan 1Malaysia (Y1M), feels that issues affecting Malays should be looked at on an intellectual level of discourse, rather than simply engaging with rhetoric.

He also believes that the discourse should not go beyond a “healthy discussion”, emphasising that he is not agreeing with any position, just affirming that groups like Perkasa and people like Suflan have a right to express their thoughts and ideas.

“It’s healthy... what is happening, and I suppose what Suflan is trying to do is to mount a challenge based also on a Malay platform.”

Parit Buntar MP Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa, on the other hand, thinks that Malay issues should be balanced with perspective.

The PAS politician said any Malay-based movement should be backed by Constitutional arguments and not ethnocentric sentiments of the kind Perkasa’s Datuk Ibrahim Ali is “perpetuating.”

“Malay issues are not about race or sentiments, it is Constitutional, and must be supported by facts and figures.

“I would believe that any commitment to issues affecting the Malay community should be through the basic tenets of Islam, whereby justice can be resolved,” said Mujahid.

According to him, the construction of today’s Malay identity lacks an objective approach. He praised the preliminary efforts undertaken by Suflan.

“If we look at things from a Malay perspective, an ethnocentric way is definitely not the way out of the problem.

“For instance, look at the issue in Penang where people are lamenting that Malay stalls are being demolished by the state government and are making an issue of it.

“Actually, more Chinese stalls are being demolished than Malay stalls. This shouldn’t even become a point of contention. When you’re being ethnocentric, you become fuelled by political sentiments.”

Mujahid also added that Malays should be encouraged to move forward when other races are also competing to improve their socio-economic conditions.

“When they see other people move forward, Malays should also be motivated to do the same,” he said.

Dr M endorses BN direct membership idea

HETHEL (England), Feb 24 – Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (picture) said the proposal to allow direct membership in the Barisan Nasional (BN) should be considered as the situation has changed now and benefits will arise from such a move.

The former BN chairman and former Umno president said that the BN used to have such method in the past but problems started to arise when direct members wanted to become election candidates, resulting in other component parties becoming unhappy.

“Because of that, the direct membership of the alliance was ended. But maybe the situation is slightly different or has changed, so ... we should consider the proposal," he told reporters after a visit to the Lotus headquarters here on Tuesday.

He was commenting on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s announcement last Friday that the BN would hold a convention end of this year to discuss amendments to the BN constitution to provide for direct admission of BN-friendly individuals, political parties and non-governmental organisations.

Dr Mahathir said some grassroot leaders might object to this as they did not want to be threatened or have their position jeopardised by better qualified candidates.

“In such a situation, direct members could easily join BN because there would be no objections or obstacles from these junior leaders who harbour ambitions to become candidates,” he said. – Bernama

The weakness of Perkasa

I have been following with interest, yet again, with the development of a new Malay-centric interest group called Perkasa.

Is its creation a necessity in an age where in the emerging force of change is multiculturalism and the rise of neo-Malays with cosmopolitan and cosmotheandric perspectives ready to abandon ultra-Malayness?

A REPUBLIC OF VIRTUE

Azly Rahman

on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/people/Azly-Rahman/689079971
on twitter: http://twitter.com/azlyrahman
on blog: http://azlyrahman-illuminations.blogspot.com/


The weakness of Perkasa lies in the gradual boredom-ness of its existence, in face of the excitement of radical marhaenism.

Ho hum. That is what all these newer developments in Malay-consciousness is about, as if we have not heard enough calls to protect the rights of the Malays - rights already enshrined in the constitution.

Ho hum. That is an expression of boredom unto all these, when we know that modern crutches and structures of disabilities of the Malay culture - ultra-nationalistic Youth parties, Biro Tata Negara, cow-head protesters and a myriad others - are still used to make the Malays scared of their own shadow.

Ho hum, when we are presented with the boring story of yet another organisation whose goal is to promote the philosophy of ‘we versus them’ in a country mystified with the slogan ‘1Malaysia’; of being and becoming one in a metaphysical world of blue ocean strategies of shark-eat-shark.

kongsi raya multi cultural celebrationPerkasa is unnecessary, I believe. Malays need to intermingle with other races and learn from each other meaningfully; more than just visiting each other during festive seasons and putting up banners during Deepa-Raya, Kongsi-Raya or Christmas-Raya or any other ritualistic social gathering American-Thanksgiving style.

Deep and serious dialogue on the arts, humanities, philosophy, and spiritual consciousness is needed in all of us so that we may eliminate fear, battle evil within, stamp out mistrust, and find common ground in the aspects of cultures we can hybridise. Culture is dynamic and contains enabling and disabling aspects. Perkasa represents the disabling aspect of Malay culture, and critical consciousness needs to permeate the psyche of its members.

Neo-Malays (or rather, philosophically framed, cosmotheandric and post-modern Malays) need to stay away from interest groups that continue to misrepresent them. More discussions on how best to move this country forward in all spheres of life should dominate those cafes, warong, teh tarik joints, and other places of hanging out.

Universities and educational institutions need to discuss radical multicultural philosophy a la radical marhaenism to bring future Malaysian leaders together as equal cultural partners in nation-building. We do not want to see in decades to come Malaysian universities offering course such as ‘Hitler-studies in Malaysian context’ or ‘The Rise of Asian Nazism’ to battle the wave of hate-crimes and the rise of Hitlerian thinking.

Mobilising Neo-Malays

But who would lead the radical change in this new Malaysian consciousness? I see two possible groups:

• Academicians, if they are willing to stick their neck out and challenge the dominant ideology and the ideologues. But they are co-opted and are not free to voice their opinion in fear of retribution.

• Artists, professionals, theologians, humanists, artisans, students - they are all over the place but the danger is that they are being fragmented by the wave of individualism, postmodernism, and non-committal.

In my flights of fancy, I would call the genesis of a separate radical identity that would set this group free from any political groups yet close to the ideals of a just and virtuous republic governed by transcultural philosophy. It is one that will produce independent ideas of change and writings that will make Malays face history and transform it, leaving behind the vestiges of feudalism and crafting an existentialist Malay history honoring absurd, marginalised, enslaved, and fallen heroes buried alive in modern history textbooks. I have written about this in an article on the new post-tribe ‘Sawojaya’.

The conceptualisation of a new race is difficult for many Malays to accept, especially when dealing with the repertoire of symbolism of Malayness. My vision is a republic of virtue no less, but must begin with us traveling the path of transcendentalist and romanticist idea of Nature and the natural state of human beings. In matter of cosmopolitanism in religious belief, it will take perhaps another half a century for Malays to acquire the taste for engaging in inter-faith dialogue. It is a very difficult task.

One has to be a ‘stranger’ and an ‘outsider’ Malay or an ‘ugly Malay’ in order to excavate the disabling cultures of the Malays. To continue to form support any organisation that has an alliance with the 'powerful and wealthy Malays’ would retard the march for a populist intellectual change.

anti ppsmi rally 070209 samad saidASAS 50, a child of Poejangga Baru and perhaps Lekra, was a very successful movement that also created the radical Malay thinkers of Independence (mainly teachers and writers). Kasim Ahmad, Syed Husin Ali, Tongkat Warrant, Kemala, Usman Awang, Samad Said (left), and even P Ramlee to an extent were foundational in spearheading this movement, inspired perhaps too by the works of Indonesian poets such as Chairil Anwar, WS Rendra, Putu Wijaya, Ajip Rosidi, and writers such as Prem (Pramoedya Ananta Toer) and Muchtar Lubis.

Perkasa might be reduced to a weak force that fails to take off. I would suggest it be disbanded or be funded to teach multi-cultural understanding in kampongs. How much shouting can one make on the streets in support of those who eat too much durian in six-star hotels?

Top 100 Global Thinker, Anwar No. 32.. but where's Najib?

The FP Top 100 Global Thinkers

From the brains behind Iran's Green Revolution to the economic Cassandra who actually did have a crystal ball, they had the big ideas that shaped our world in 2009. Read on to see the 100 minds that mattered most in the year that was.

On the first places is Ben Bernanke Chairman of Federal Reserve Washington ,

The Zen-like chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve might not have topped the list solely for turning his superb academic career into a blueprint for action, for single-handedly reinventing the role of a central bank, or for preventing the collapse of the U.S. economy.

The last 100 is Paul Kennedy Historian from Yale University.

Kennedy literally wrote the book on imperial decline. His classic, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, charts the course of the great European empires, describing the pattern of economic expansion, territorial conquest, and imperial overstretch to which countries from Spain to Britain fell victim.

And on the Number 32 is Anwar Ibrahim, Opposition leader People's Justice Party Malaysia.

Two decades ago, it would have been impossible to imagine Anwar pulling together rural Malays, ethnic Indians and Chinese, and Islamists into a coherent political bloc. Back then, Anwar was deputy prime minister in a de facto single-party state that espoused preferential treatment for ethnic Malays.

But where is my beloved Prime Minister Najib placed?


Aiyahhh… Not in ranking lo..


32. Anwar Ibrahim

for challenging the Muslim world to embrace democracy.

Opposition leader People's Justice Party Malaysia

Two decades ago, it would have been impossible to imagine Anwar pulling together rural Malays, ethnic Indians and Chinese, and Islamists into a coherent political bloc. Back then, Anwar was deputy prime minister in a de facto single-party state that espoused preferential treatment for ethnic Malays. It was a policy that Anwar had pushed from his days as a youth leader right up until 1997, when he denounced his patron, then-Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, for corruption. He would spend the next six years in solitary confinement on trumped-up charges for that political betrayal. And he would leave jail in 2004 with a bold message for change in a country now at the forefront of the struggle for democracy in the Muslim world. Today, Anwar's political career is blossoming, despite a new, politically motivated indictment. Abroad, he has become an outspoken advocate of religious tolerance.

He sat down with Foreign Policy to talk about his big ideas:

On Muslim countries and the West: You can't just erase a period of imperialism and colonialism. You can't erase the fault lines, the bad policies, the failed policies, the war in Iraq, and support for dictators. That to me is the reality. But what is the problem? When you … apportion the blame only to the West or the United States. They want to deflect from the issue of repression, endemic corruption, and destruction of the institutions of governance.

On his time in prison: I spent a lot of time reading. I decided to focus on the great works and the classics. Friends from around the world were sending books, but it takes months for [the prison] to vet them. There came a book on the Green Revolution at that time. The officer said, "Anything revolution -- out!" even though it was about agriculture. But the books kept coming. The officers were not even graduates, and [the books] were in English. They would say, "Anwar, out of 10 books, can you send back one?" So I would select something I had already read or something I was not interested in and say, "We should reject this."

On politics: Of course, you simplify the arguments [for politics], but the central thesis remains constant. People say, "Anwar, you are opportunistic. How can you talk about Islam and the Quran here, and then you talk about Shakespeare and quote Jefferson or Edmund Burke?" I say, it depends on the audience. You can't talk about Edmund Burke in some remote village in Afghanistan. Then you go to Kuala Lumpur and you quote T.S. Eliot. If I quote the Quran all the time to a group of lawyers, [they will think] I am a mullah from somewhere!

How Taib Survived The 1987 Elections...

and why Sarawak is today in the grip of the robber baron timber gang lords...

When the "Ming Court Affair" - a rebellion against Taib by members, both elected and non-elected, of his own coalition led by his own uncle, Tun Rahman - took place in March 1987, Taib had already been Chief Minister for 6 years.

In those 6 years, he had managed to antagonize these members by one-sidedly supporting and giving contracts and concessions to a new group of crony capitalists who were mostly Foochow Chinese, from or close to SUPP, and mainly involved in the timber and construction industries.

Ironically, it was his uncle who had started this trend, when to become Chief Minister in 1970 he had to depend on the support of SUPP and thereby thwart SNAP's attempt to come back to power in the state.

His uncle was in power for almost 12 years, but in 6 years Taib's group of cronies had almost closed the gap in terms of the timber concessions held by them as against those held by Rahman's cronies.

While Taib did benefit personally from arrangements with his group of cronies, by that time it is likely that he could not as yet match the money-power of his uncle's group of cronies. He also knew that the 1987 elections which he was forced to call because of the rebellion was going to be a very costly affair, with his uncle's group spending as much as they could to try and overthrow him, while he had to at least match their spending to defend himself and his cronies.

Partly to neutralize his opponents' money-power and also to gain access to the necessary funds for himself, he ordered the transfer of all state government funds out from Bank Utama which was then under the control of one of his uncle's cronies, Bidari, who was also PBB Treasurer.

This he was able to do with the kind assistance of his brother-in-law, Aziz Hussain, who then just happened to be the Assistant or Deputy State Financial Officer. In fact it was Aziz Hussain who inadvertently spilled the beans, unaware that he was talking to the Sarawak Headhunter at the time.

Taib then made a deal with 5 robber baron timber gang lords - if you don't know who they are, just look for the top 5 timber concession holders in Sarawak. The deal was that they would each pay him RM30 million if he won the elections. In return they would not only get to keep the concessions they already had but they would also be given many more - and Taib would also make much more, the RM30 million each just a small down-payment.

So Taib used RM150 million of state government money to fund his (and the BN's) election campaign. Money flowed like water on both sides, but it would appear that on Rahman's side much of the money did not get where it was supposed to go, so much so that after the elections, Nor Tahir's house in Satok was raided by the federal authorities who found and confiscated more than RM90 million in unaccounted for cash that had not been spent.

Yes, good folks of Sarawak, that's the illegally-earned money from your own natural resources, particularly timber, that they were using to bribe you to support them.

When the elections were over and Taib's group had won by a mere 4 seats, the RM150 million was immediately replaced and no one was any the wiser what Taib had done to survive the 1987 elections.

This is how Taib survived the 1987 elections and how at least 7 million hectares of timber concessions came to be controlled by Taib's family, henchmen and cronies (of which no less than 5 million hectares came under the dominion of the top 5 robber baron timber lords who had reimbursed Taib the state government money that he had used for the elections).

Elections in Sarawak and many other parts of Malaysia are nothing more than a mockery and subversion of democracy, until the people decide that they cannot be bribed with their own money to support and vote for their elected representatives to abuse their trust.

Creating high value jobs: Malaysia budget vs S'pore budget

Creating high value jobs seems to be the second selling pitch of Najib administration after 1Malaysia. It is interesting to note that Singapore’s theme for their 2010 budget, according to their Finance Minister Mr. Shanmugarat, is “quality jobs higher income”. It will make interesting reading if a comparison is made.

The budget unveiled a master plan for the next 5 to 10 years to turn Singapore into a “world of opportunities” with total expenditure of S$46.4 billion (given total population of 3.7 million, it is approximately S$ 12,500 allocated per person; by comparison, 2009 budgeted government expenditure in Malaysia of RM220 billion shared by 28 million bumis and pendatangs (in jest) amounted to approximately RM7,800 person*).

* figures of Malaysia 2009 budget is derived from Teh Chi Chang’s excellent book entitled “The Budget : How the Government is spending OUR money”


There are plenty of social aspect to comment about such as higher dependent relief for grand parents and parents, one-off topping up of CPF Medisave from S$200 to S$500 for all Singaporeans above 50 and allocation of S$200million each to citizen’s Medifund and Eldercare.

However, I am more intrigued by the budget’s effort to restructure and transform their economy which does not rely on natural resource, cheap labour or land mass. What ideas can Malaysia glean from them?


* * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Extract from the newpaper 23 February 2010 (front page news ”Subway sickos film upskirt video and post on internet")

Retrain, retool, restructure to recreate the S’pore super-value worker

Under the caption “SOFTWARE” – I gather this mean mindset of the people

Retrain and retool the mind and mind set of Singapore bosses to workers : allocation of $S2.5 billion over 5 years for Continuing Education and Training.

# The Workfare Training Scheme (WTS)
Designated for low wage workers, if the employers send them for training, the government of Singapore will reimburse up to 95% of the payroll and course fee of the worker


Research: develop new ideas with the target that R &D make up 3.5 percent of GDP over next 5 years

# The Singapore Government to pump $2.2 billion into National Research Fund and will be boosted by another $S$1.5 billion

# S$450 million is to be allocated to government agencies over next 5 years to work with private-sector companies to help innovation driven companies to turn their R & D into marketable solutions. (the comparison is more stark when one think of the theme lobbying done by Malaysian chamber of commerce organized along racial lines)


Under the caption “HARDWARE”

Encouraging start-ups whereby innovative companies which can offer high value will be given room to enter into the economy and room to grow either via organic growth or mergers and acquisitions

# One-off tax allowance to defray up to 5% of acquisition costs, capped at $5 million.

# S$2.5 billion to be allocated as incentive for businesses to re-look at their work processes and re-design jobs to help workers create more value. (I like this, it allows existing companies to work smarter and better)

# Productivity and Innovation Credit^ – tax deduction for investment along the innovation value chain covering Research & Development, registration of intellectual property, acquisition of intellectual property, automation through technology or software

(note: While in Malaysia we have double deduction for approved research and reinvestment allowance^ for modernization of plant but, I stand to be corrected, registration and acquisition of intellectual property may be classified as capital expenditure and not tax deductible)

^ comparison

Singapore : Productivity and Innovation Credit lasting 5 years that will allow 250% deduction for expenditures on innovation focused activities such as R&D, intellectual property registrations or acquisition, employee training, automation and design

Malaysia : Reinvestment Allowance is available to companies engaged in manufacturing, processing and selected agricultural activities that reinvested for expansion, automation, modernisation or diversification.

RA can be claimed for 15 consecutive years and gives a company either 60% or 100% set off of qualifying capital expenditure against its statutory income.

- for Singapore, your tax credit is 2.5 times what you spent while in Malaysia, you can't fully claim whatever you have invested and the scope is much narrower




# National Productivity Fund
The Singapore Government is aiming to pump S$2 billion into NPF to provide grants to help enterprises with potential for large gains to innovate.



Under the caption “HEARTWARE” – I gather this mean mindset of the entrepreneur

#Nurturing better bosses

S$45 million set aside over 5 years for Spring’s Business Leaders Initiative which is an umbrella programme to attract young talent into SMEs and to groom the future generation of business leaders

#Nurturing start-ups
S$60 million over 5 years for successful angel investors by providing funds, mentor ship and access to business network and markets. (I think this, providing level playing field and unlike other places where opportunities are given according to relationship (guan xi), race etc)

An eligible angel investor who commits a minimum of S$100,000 of equity investment can claim 50% tax deduction on his/her investment at the end of a two year holding period.


* * * * * * ** * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * *

Turning to Teh Chi-Chang’s excellent write up again, the RM7 billion stimulus plan from Najib administration is spent on:

# minor projects, maintaining schools, roads and hospitals RM1.6 billion (what is the multiplier effect of this one? Negligible)

# skills training on tourism, health, construction, business outsourcing RM0.3 billion (a very small portion of the total)

# public transport system RM0.5 billion (I am still stuck in the jam)

# upgrade and maintain police station and army camps RM0.5 billion (when economy is down, why the solders need more houses?)

# build 25,000 low to medium cost houses (people are having trouble buying house for lack of income; not too much money chasing too little houses)

There is a glaring lack of capacity building and human capital focus. The only beneficiary I see is the contractors who are not subject to open tenders, hardware and construction material supplier and perhaps some foreign workers who repatriate our ringgit back to heavens knows where.


By comparison, an even better piece of work in “Democratising Malaysia’s Economy – Budget Strategies for Economic Transformation” by the DAP Economic Bureau, the “Communist-minded” DAP chaps (tribute to a recently independent Wakil Rakyat) came up with the following:

# Breaking up the federal monopoly of revenue and increasing the spending power, autonomy and power to borrow of the respective state government who knows their locality better (No more Penang buses runned by Putrajaya)

# Enactment of Unfair Contract Act to address the profiteering via lopsided public contracts such as the IPPs, toll concessionaires,

# Allocating 20% of Petronas surplus funds to building human capacity via a host of education and training schemes and cultivating brain grain and reverse brain drain.

# Expand on Centre of Excellence in Integrated Circuit Design to add value to human capital development and to bridge a link between research activities, institutions of higher learning, and SMEs based on the needs of the Industrial sector (read: try not to produce unemployable or ill-equipped graduates who waste more resource on re-training)

I am doing injustice to the above excellent and holistic budget presentation by quoting a few of the notables. I hope to write more on that some other day.

Forget the two-party system

By Wong Chin Huat
editor@thenutgraph.com

(Corrected at 12pm, 24 Feb 2010)


(Scales by darktaco / sxc.hu)

FEDERAL opposition politicians and their well-wishers like to talk about an emerging two-party system in Malaysia. I believe having a two-party system is a noble goal, but it is also a false option at this juncture.

A two-party system implies normal politics in a functioning democracy where political elites see each other as opponents, not enemies. In Malaysia, the opposite is true.

In democracies, party politicians will fight each other rigorously, but they will fight even more rigorously against any unelected force that tries to dictate or encroach upon their game. These could be members of the monarchy, members of the clergy, aristocrats, professional soldiers, cops, judges, bureaucrats, media tycoons, business magnates, mafia bosses, or street mobs.

Democratic politicians will not allow even their opponents to be undemocratically kicked out of the game. They know well that if the rules are broken, one day they themselves could likely become victims of these broken rules. Being aware of these karmic possibilities unites democratic politicians within the rules of the game.

Only game in town

In political science, democracy is said to have consolidated when every player agrees that "democracy is the only game in town", and does not attempt to seize power via non-electoral and unconstitutional means.

Democratic consolidation is one of two important processes in democratisation, the other being democratic transition. And normally, democratic transition needs to happen before democratic consolidation can take place.


(Blackboard by ilco / sxc.hu)

In Malaysia, even opposition politicians rarely have conceptual discussions about democratic transition, democratic consolidation or even democratisation in general. The dominant discourse, when it comes to political change, is about a two-party system.

We talk about a two-party system and checks and balances as though the moment the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) wins, we will have a new and credible opposition in the Barisan Nasional (BN) or Umno, or vice versa. We don't talk about the trajectory of democratisation — "the day after tomorrow", if you like. We just assume things will work out or are already working out.

In other words, we are content to focus on democratic transition (changing the government), and assume that democratic consolidation (a two-party system) will happen immediately after the government is changed.

What perils await?

(Corrected) Such a "two-party system discourse" has two problems. The first is that voters may act according to the misconception that what we have is already a two-party system.

(Corrected) In a two-party system, voters can and should practise normal "reward and punishment" techniques on political parties as they would in other democracies. If a party offers good policies or good candidates, it should be supported, whether it is for or against democratisation. And all things remaining equal, the absence of an overriding issue would likely result in voters creating a more balanced Parliament, where both sides share the seats more or less evenly.

(Corrected) But in Malaysia, this would only bring about a "two-party competitive format", which is what we have now. And in the absence of politicians' commitment to democracy, this will not evolve into a true "two-party system".

This leads to the second problem, which is that such a "two-party competitive format" is simply not an equilibrium point, and would be untenable without politicians' commitment to respecting election outcomes.

For example, if either the BN or PR won something close to a two-thirds majority, the winner would likely entice defections of opposition lawmakers so that its position was strengthened. At the very least, the winner would be driven by the fear that if its position was not strengthened, it might fall prey to something like Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's 16 Sept plot.


Anwar

Now, if the BN or PR won only a bare majority, say around 120 seats, the loser may be tempted to overturn the electoral outcome through defections and royal intervention. In other words, there is nothing stopping the loser from replicating, at the federal level, the BN's Perak takeover. In fact, at the federal level, the disgruntled loser could even court the backing of the military, if necessary.

When democracy continues to be denied in this way, voters will be misled that it is politics that is evil. And they will come to this conclusion because they will see the failure of this supposed "two-party system" as something that happens in every democracy, rather than realise that Malaysia has actually not become a true democracy.

If we continue talking up a "two-party system" without actually democratising effectively, then we will end up with one-party predominance or a democratic breakdown. So forget about the two-party system — that will not happen unless we can train politicians from both sides to accept elections as the only game in town.

The deal

Unless we are content to turn into another Thailand or Fiji, our choice now is this: one-party predominance under the BN, or one-party predominance under the PR?


Soldiers against red-shirt protesters in Thailand, April 2009
(Pic by Walter van Kalken / Wiki commons)

It's not about how much a party can do for us if it has tremendous power, but it's about how much we can trust a party if it has so much power. So perhaps the decision for us now is to choose the lesser evil rather than the devil we know.

Have we got a bad deal? Yes, and sorry for spoiling your Chinese New Year mood. Aren't there other solutions? I will explore them in due course. Am I just fear-mongering? I invite you to offer an alternative trajectory of democratisation that is more positive.

Kenaikan Tarif Elektrik Bukti Najib Gagal Laksana Slogan 1Malaysia

Dari TV Selangor
Oleh: Yusmawati Yusuf

Kabinet pimpinan Perdana Menteri Najib Razak akan bermesyuarat esok untuk memutuskan sama ada meluluskan kenaikan tarif elektrik.

Menteri Tenaga Teknologi Hijau dan Air Peter Chin mengesahkan pihaknya telah mencadangkan supaya kadar tarif letrik dinaikan.

Pakar Ekonomi Tony Phua berkata kerajaan Umno-Barisan Nasional akan berlaku tidak adil sekali lagi jika meluluskan kenaikan tarif elektrik itu.

Beliau berkata, sebarang kenaikan harga bukan sahaja bertentangan dengan slogan-slogan yang dicanang Najib tetapi juga membuktikan kepimpinannya lebih mengutamakan kroni-kroni dalam pengagihan subsidi.

“Kalau mereka meningkatkan tarif elektrik adalah amat tidak adil kerana buat masa ini sekiranya subsidi dikurangkan terhadap konsumer, sepatutnya subsidi yang diberikan kepada pihak penjana kuasa bebas perlu dikurangkan dahulu.

“Kenapa pihak itu dapat menikmati subsidi yang begitu lumayan dan menjamin keuntungan yang besar kepada pihak IPP tetapi bagi rakyat pula kerajaan meningkatkan harganya? Adakah ini slogan kerajaan dan Najib bahawa rakyat akan didahulukan? Buat masa ini apa yang kita nampak, kroni-kroni perniagaan-perniagan besar didahulukan manakala rakyat dibelakangi,”katanya.

Tony Phua yang juga Ahli Parlimen Petaling Jaya Utara berkata, pengurangan subsidi kepada rakyat dengan pelbagai kenaikan harga barang mencerminkan kegagalan Umno-BN menguruskan negara.

“Ini menunjukkan bahawa kerajaan Barisan Nasional tidak menggunakan wang dan pendapatan negara secara berkhemah dan telah menyebabkan sekarang kerajaan rumit kewangan iaitu tidak cukup wang dan semua subsidi dikurangkan dan semua harga dinaikkan. Menunjukkan kerajaan selama ini tidak mempunyai kecekapan dalam menguruskan isu-isu ekonomi,”katanya.

Can Muhyiddin pass three simple tests as to whether he is sincerely and seriously committed to Najib ‘s 1Malaysia concept?

Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is only half right when said that my head is “filled with problems” but half wrong when he alleged that these problems are about Pakatan Rakyat.

My head is indeed filled with problems but they are not about the Pakatan Rakyat but are compounded by the life-and-death struggle of Umno and the other Barisan Nasional component parties including MCA, Gerakan and MIC after the political tsunami of the 12th general election in 2008 and the pathetic 10-month history of Najib’s “1Malaysia” slogan and concept which may meet the fate of being the first slogan of a Prime Minister with the shortest useful life-span.

Muhyiddin’s suggestion that that I am bankrupt of ideas and his allegation that I had run out of issues to use against the government are “old hats” and “no great shakes”, as they had been thrown at me by Umno, MCA and Gerakan leaders for over four decades but to no great avail, or Umno and the Barisan Nasional would not be fighting for their political life after the March 8 “political tsunami” while the stocks of DAP and Pakatan Rakyat, whatever our problems, are on the ascendance.

Instead of making personal attacks and baseless accusations that I was laying a “trap” to “cause friction between him and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak”, Muhyiddin should have responded to my call to him to declare whether he is the right-hand man of Najib or former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir in the Najib premiership.

It is most significant that Muhyiddin did not even attempt to deny that he is the custodian and surrogate of the Mahathir legacy in the Najib administration.

Muhyiddin also cleverly avoided the questions I had posed about his commitment to Najib’s 1Malaysia slogan and concept by claiming that he had the same stand as Najib on 1Malaysia.

This is serious. Is Muhyiddin claiming that he had Najib’s endorsement and approval for all his utterances and actions which are inimical to the realization of the 1Malaysia slogan and concept, including:

  • His defense of the racist “brain washing” and indoctrination on “ketuanan Melayu” by Biro Tata Negara despite criticisms and expose of its racist, divisive and seditious content for the past two decades;

  • His attempt to mitigate the Nasir Safar outrage claiming that it could have been “a slip of the tongue” when Najib’s senior political aide labelled Indians and Chinese in Malaysia as “pendatang”, alleging that the Chinese came as beggars and the Chinese women as “prostitutes”;

  • His conspicuous silence when the racialist rantings of Umno executive secretary Datuk Abdul Rauf Yusoh at an Umno club function in London earlier this month was exposed; and

  • His hamfisted attempt to aid and abet the inflammatory and incendiary campaign by Umno-controlled media like Utusan Malaysia, Berita Harian, government television and radio stations, playing the race and religious cards to viciously and falsely paint Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and Pakatan Rakyat Penang State Government as “anti-Malay” and “anti-Islam”.

Let me ask Muhyiddin one question point-blank: Is he aware that the Najib administration’s sincerity and seriousness about 1Malaysia is under great test in Penang – why the 1Malaysia concept is being undermined and compromised in the vicious and sustained exploitation of the race and religious card by Umno media and agents in the conspiracy to defame the Penang Chief Minister and Pakatan Rakyat Penang State Government as anti-Malay and anti-Islam?

If the people of Penang regard the 1Malaysia concept as fake and hypocritical, how can he expect the people of Sabah and Sarawak and the rest of Malaysians to have much confidence in the slogan?

As Deputy Prime Minister, Muhyiddin should be in the forefront to secure the co-operation of all MPs and political parties outside the Barisan Nasional fold to make a success of the 1Malaysia campaign, on the ground that it is a national issue and not a party agenda.

Unless the 1Malaysia concept is merely an Umno and Barisan Nasional political gimmick, Muhyiddin should have taken the initiative to approach MPs and political parties outside the Barisan Nasional to put aside all partisan differences to foster the national development of the 1Malaysia concept.

He should be meeting with Opposition MPs in Parliament to forge an all-party platform to ensure the achievement of the 1Malaysia concept at all levels of national life.

But Muhyiddin has done none of this in the past ten months that he was Deputy Prime Minister.

It is the DAP which has proposed the establishment of an Opposition-headed Parliamentary Select Committee on 1Malaysia which has been met with indifference and disinterest from Muhyiddin and the overwhelming majority of Barisan Nasional Ministers.

This is really quite ridiculous as Muhyiddin and the Najib Cabinet should be persuading the Pakatan Rakyat MPs to agree to the establishment of a Parliamentary Select Committee on 1Malaysia and not the other way round!
Why is this so? Is this because the Najib Cabinet is full of Ministers who are quite skeptical about the 1Malaysia concept treating it as nothing more than political theatre not to be taken seriously?

Who are the Ministers in the Najib Cabinet who have the 1Malaysia DNA? I do not see anyone. No wonder neither Muhyiddin nor the other Cabinet Ministers comport themselves with any conviction that they are the standard-bearers of the 1Malaysia slogan and concept.

There are three simple tests as to whether Muhyiddin is sincerely and seriously committed to Najib’s 1Malaysia, viz:

  • Whether as DPM he would agree to the establishment of an Opposition-headed Parliamentary Select Committee on 1Malaysia;

  • Is he prepared to declare that the basis of 1Malaysia is “ketuanan rakyat Malaysia” and not “ketuanan Melayu”; and

  • Is he prepared to endorse the objective of 1Malaysia as defined by the 1Malaysia Government Transformation Programme (GTP) Roadmap to create a nation where every Malaysian perceives himself or herself as Malaysian first, and by race, religion or region second – by setting the lead to be the first Umno national leader to declare that he is Malaysian first and Malay second?

If Muhyiddin cannot pass three simple 1Malaysia tests, then he should stop pretending that he is on the same wavelength with Najib on the 1Malaysia concept.

Malaysia Asserted Position As Leading Asean Exporting Nation To Germany In 2009

By Manik Mehta

BERLIN, Feb 24 (Bernama) -- Despite the lower Asean-Germany overall trade last year, Malaysia continued to assert its position as the regional grouping's number one exporting nation to Germany in 2009.

Germany, Malaysia's biggest market in the European Union, was "ousted" incidentally by China as the world's top exporting nation in 2009.

Malaysia's exports to Germany, which surged in 2008, recorded 10.7 per cent decline from 4.47 billion Euros in 2008 down to 3.99 billion Euros in 2009.

Malaysia's imports from Germany also fell by 18.1 per cent, down from 3.95 billion in 2008 to 3.23 billion Euros in 2009.

Malaysia was followed by number two Singapore among Asean countries, registering 13.0 per cent drop in exports to Germany.

Singapore's exports fell from 3.80 billion Euros in 2008 to 3.30 billion euros in 2009 while its imports from Germany declined by 7.8 per cent from 5.30 billion euros to 4.90 billion euros.

Other Asean member countries like Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam also recorded a slide in their trade with Germany. Indeed, the overall Asean-Germany two-way trade registered a sharp drop.

Asean's total exports to Germany amounted to 16.96 billion euros, down 12.4 per cent from 19.36 billion euros in 2008 while the grouping's imports from Germany recorded a 11.8 per cent low from 15.56 billion euros in 2008 to 13.72 billion euros in 2009.

Thailand, which ranks third in Asean as Germany's trading partner, recorded a 13.6 per cent plunge in its exports to Germany, down from 3.14 billion euros in 2008 to 2.95 billion euros in 2009.

Thailand imported German goods worth 2.10 billion euros in 2009, a 16.4 per cent down from 2.52 billion euros in 2008.

German exports to the Asia-Pacific region in 2009 amounted to 92.22 billion euros, down 4.5 per cent from 96.59 billion in 2008.

But German trade progressed well in 2009 with China which ended buying seven per cent more German goods.

Germany's overall exports to the entire Asian contingent accounted for more than 10 per cent of Germany's overall exports.

While Germany's total exports in 2009 dropped 17.9 per cent, the 4.5 per cent decline in German exports to the Asia-Pacific region appears quite moderate. The main driver for demand for German goods was China.

Germany's exports to China rose by seven per cent to 36.5 billion euros, much of the growth coming in the fourth quarter of 2009 which showed a 20 per cent growth and compensated for the steady decline earlier resulting from the economic crisis.

Indeed, China's share in absorbing the total German exports increased by over one per cent to 4.5 per cent in 2009; China's ranking as importer of German products rose from 11th to 8th spot in 2009.

The share of the entire Asian region in German exports rose to 11.4 per cent, up from 9.8 per cent in 2008.

The council underscores the growing importance of the Asian markets for Germany's exports, particularly against the backdrop of negative developments in other regions of the world.

Besides China, according to the council, other smaller countries in Asia such as Vietnam, Bangladesh (each posting a 11.5 per cent growth), and Brunei (+ 15.5 per cent) also absorbed more German exports.

Other big buyers of German products such as India (-2.4 per cent), Taiwan (-20 per cent), Japan (-15.3 per cent) and South Korea (-10.6 per cent) recorded lower imports from Germany.

'Tiada syarat tubuh JK pinda enakmen Islam S'gor'

Tee Beng: I want hearing tomorrow

NGO Islam lapor polis terhadap STAR

Keng Yaik statment: Prove he's wrong

PAS, DAP.PKR stop fooling around with mandorism. UMNO stop creating more Indian parties, it just will not work. Come clean with equitable policies and

For any discerning citizen it will be immediately apparent that the only political party in Malaysia that represents the Indians and is in clear opposition to UMNO is the Human Rights Party(HRP). All the other parties ( nine of them -MIC, PPP, IPF, Punjabi Peoples Party, Kimma, Mindraf, MMSP, MCC and MUIP) are just falling over one another fighting to get a lick at the honey. They represent the narrow and selfish interests of those few who will fight to deliver the Indian votes to UMNO in return for a lick at the honey. They are part of the ongoing treachery against the Indians in Malaysia. It is only when the true interests of the working class Indians are represented in the halls of power that the Indians in this country will get to really move on.

Then look at DAP and PKR who also vie for the Indian votes. Yes that is all they are interested in – the Indian votes. And they want the votes cheaply. They will throw maybe two peanuts at their Mandores, not one like UMNO and hope their dues are paid for the votes. They will create an illusion of representation more treacherous than UMNO by saying we have a Deputy Chief Minister II, we have a Speaker of the Assembly who are Indians, did you have that under UMNO. But what is the point of having impotent representatives like that. They make no difference any way. The differences they proudly and shamelessly speak about is like the naming of roads in Penang in Tamil or of giving land to one or two Tamil Schools which anyway gets mired in the mud because of the passing of the buck between PR and UMNO. It is time these politicians understood that there is a price for the votes – they are not going to come cheap anymore. Who is willing to pay the price will get the votes and not any one else. The price is a clear change to policies vis-à-vis the Indians - to solve the endemic problem of poverty among the Indians, to put in place equal rights in all sense, to create equal opportunities in all sense.

This is the price –PAS, DAP.PKR stop fooling around with mandorism, it is not going to work. UMNO stop creating more Indian parties, it just will not work. Come clean with equitable policies and you will see the magic..

P.Uthaykumar

It is not Kugan or whoever it is that killed him that is no trial here. It is the entire system of governance in this country that is on trial!

Kugan died while in police custody. He was arrested on Jan 15th 2009. He died six days later on the 20th of Jan 2009. Constable Navindran is charged with causing grievous hurt to Kugan on the 16th at 7.00am and 4.00pm . Kugan died 4 days later on the 20th of January. ASP Rodney Pasla Haris to whom Navindran reported saw none of the injuries which have been so well documented on the last occasion he saw him alive. We will see such facts unfold in the media and the media will not fail to report these insignificant facts and take attention off a very fundamental failure of the system in our country. The Illusions will continue to pour out from this jug of hubris.

It is not Kugan or whoever it is that killed him that is no trial here. It is the entire system of governance in this country that is on trial. The system of governance in general and the system of justice in our country has deteriorated to an extent that the police have become a law unto themselves. This is what is on trial here. Zimbabwe had a system very close to this that the music from the fiddles were more important than burning Rome. The police have become the prosecutor, the judge, the jury and the executioner – all in one, especially when it comes to the lives of defenceless Indians. The Malay-sian police have no right to take the life of any Malaysian, in particular ethnic minority Malaysian Indians.

Indians have become soft targets in the country. There are so many ways in which the system is killing off Indians. The police killing is just one of the ways. The systematic neglect by the UMNO government of the Indians leaving them in an endemic condition of poverty and all the incumbent ills constitute other surreptitious ways of the killing. The average life span of Indians in the country is lowest among the 3 major ethnic groups and there really is no other reason for this than the systematic neglect by the system.

Such Killing of Indians do not even do not get the attention of the supposed “multi racial” Opposition parties top leadership, their 82 Opposition MPs’ including their 11 Indian members of Parliament. Perhaps because names like Kugan or Muruges do not sound anything like Teoh Beng Hock or Anwar Ibrahim! And so the above and thousands of other atrocities against the Indians goes on unabated and with impunity.

There is only one way out, Indians have to win political power on the strength of their numbers and send to the halls of power those who will truly represent the Indians to change the destiny of Indians in this country. We have had 50 years with UMNO and now 2 years with PR and there is absolutely no difference. They cannot take care of Indian interests. We have to learn to stand on our strengths ourselves. Many say this is not possible. We in HRP believe it is possible and we will show the way to get it done.

We believe in the power of the people. When they become aware their strength is formidable. You will see.